Apparently bowing to pressure from a conservative Christian group with which it originally refused to do business, Mellon Bank Corp. said Tuesday that it would be willing to manage some of the assets of Focus on the Family.
But the Colorado Springs group responded that it is no longer interested in Mellon's services.
Several other banking companies, including San Francisco-based Wells Fargo & Co., have contacted Focus on the Family about managing its assets, said Thomas Mason, the group's executive vice president.
"We're going to deal with another partner," he said.
Focus on the Family had asked Mellon this year to help it set up a charitable annuity trust.
Mellon rejected the request, saying Focus on the Family's mission statement was "in conflict" with the banking company's nondiscrimination policy.
Mellon has a policy that promises equal employment opportunities regardless of race, religion, age, color, sex, or sexual orientation.
Focus on the Family is opposed to same-sex marriages and to public school curriculums that teach children about homosexuality. But the group's mission statement does not discuss these issues.
After the Pittsburgh-based banking company rejected its business, Focus on the Family encouraged its supporters to telephone Mellon executives to complain. James Dobson, Focus on the Family's founder and president, criticized Mellon's actions on his syndicated radio program this month.
The group's campaign against Mellon resulted in a flood of angry phone calls to the $49 billion-asset company. But last week Mellon sent a letter to Focus on the Family, claiming to have reached an "understanding" with the group.
A spokesman for the banking company would not say whether the phone campaign had prompted Mellon's about-face, nor would he discuss whether the company had lost any business because of the flap.
However, Mr. Mason said Mellon's letter implied that Focus on the Family had asked the banking company to change its nondiscrimination policy -- something the group said it never did.
Mr. Mason also said that Focus on the Family had never asked Mellon to turn away business from those whose politics differed from the group's.
"The bank we deal mostly with is" Wells Fargo & Co.'s Norwest, he said.
"I'm sure Wells Fargo has customers with whom we're not philosophically aligned."